You know the adage, “if you tell a depressed person to go for a run, you should be shot”? You don’t? Not yet, cause it’s mine.
Alcoholics have a disease, folks with diabetes have a disease, and so do codependent people with personality disorders. Except that with the depressive ones among us, the disease is born of a fathoms deep sense of being shit. Being too much.
Too pessimistic, too sad, too sensitive, too needy, too controlling – we’re carrying around a bag so heavy with the ways in which we’re messed up that it’s genuinely unimaginable to us what y’all folks are doing planning haircuts and dalgona coffee during the lockdown.
We’ve been carrying around a fundamental sense of badness for so long that when we’re down and you give us some super obvious self-care task to do, we’re hard on ourselves for not being able to do it.
I’m a therapist and peer-support advocate and my beloved kitten Kumi’s death on 8th May sent me into bed and old depressive spirals about offing myself and giving it all up to turn into a nun. Again. I mean enough already, I’m a therapist and peer-support advocate FFS. It’s been seven years of this, why do I keep coming back to killing myself, what the hell is going on?
Let me tell you, trying to use CBT tools when you’re depressed and feeling unworthy, probably depressed because your unworthiness is triggered, is like sticking your neck out for repeated chapeds across the face. It’s not that these CBT tools and manifestation tools and the rest of what positive psychology~new age tools has to offer is worthless. Far from it.
It’s that until you help me resolve my fundamental sense of badness, unworthiness, too-muchness, I won’t want to use any of it. I won’t want to feel better, I won’t internalize any of the feel good mantras you’re giving me and I definitely will not be able to feel gratitude for all the good things in my life, because I have my head so far up my ass I can’t even properly see them yet.
Please know that I’ve been intellectually aware of my sense of unworthiness from the first time I was depressed – it was actually a healer by name of Minal Arora that pointed it out to me. This was sometime in 2014. It’s been at least six years since then, and only because I lost a cat in circumstances that were totally outside my control could I finally face the fact that I have been blaming myself for every thing that went wrong in my life because the people around me could not see me for who I am till it was too late. I have internalized planet-sized shame around being sensitive, and different and it has made me feel like I need to protect people around me from me.
Which if you’ve met me you know is frankly ridiculous. 🙂
So having emerged from this final bloody round (I swear to god Aqseer) of suicidal ideation, revisiting the first principles and asking about the meaning of life, here’s what I gotta say to myself, and to you.
Couple things happened to you that were not in your control.
You survived those things, you survived the drive when you weren’t at the steering wheel. Now it’s time to grab that wheel with both hands, and choose the road you wanna go down.
Because you see yourself, and love yourself, and know your worth, you will choose in every moment to be in your body, to practice gratitude, and give yourself what you need.
Everything is figureoutable, and now, you wanna figure it out. For you. Go you.
For those of you that are struggling with your sense of worth, write to me for an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’ll get you there.